The same month, school officials in Garden Grove were alerted to a group of Pacifica High School students raising the Nazi salute while singing a Nazi marching song at an off-campus athletic event.
Pacifica High administrators kept their situation quiet — which worked until this week, when the months-old recorded Snapchat video exploded online after it was sent to the Daily Beast.
Since Monday, Garden Grove Unified School District officials have learned of other videos and multiple allegations of students engaged in hate speech. The district has opened an investigation.
The students’ motivation and identities are unclear. But the images in Newport and Garden Grove reflect both a rise in such incidents nationwide and a conflict more specific to Orange County: tension between a rapidly diversifying populace and racist elements deeply seated in its history.
The eight-second video from Garden Grove shows about a dozen Pacifica High school boys standing in what appears to be a banquet room giving the stiff-armed salute used in Nazi Germany, as the song “Erika,” written by German composer Herms Niel during Adolf Hitler’s ascent to power, plays in the background. At least one of the boys appears to sing the lyrics. One boy gets up and leaves, and another quickly drops his arm and sits down.
The video, taken before the start of an athletics banquet in November 2018, was originally shared among a small group of students on Snapchat. High school administrators learned of the video four months later and addressed the situation internally with the students appearing in the video and their families, Garden Grove Unified spokeswoman Abby Broyles said. School district officials did not know about the video until it surfaced Monday.
The students involved were disciplined, but officials declined to discuss the consequences they faced.
Since Monday, several other videos showing students engaged in hate speech have surfaced. Those videos and the initial one, Broyles said, will be investigated.
Although the students have not been identified by school officials, Osborne described allegations that they are water polo team members as “misinformation.”